International Conference on “Dominant Themes in Armenian Diaspora Studies”

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The international conference on “Dominant Themes in Armenian Diaspora Studies” was held at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Armenia on November 14, 2019, organized by the Department of Diaspora Studies (DAS) at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of NAS and the Haigazian University-based Armenian Diaspora Research Center (ADRC).

Participants were researchers from Yerevan, Beirut and Paris, along with a number of state and public sector representatives from Armenia.

In his opening words, Dr. Rupen Garabedian, director of the Department of Diaspora Studies, welcomed the audience and the participants and expressed his pleasure in the growing cooperation between DAS and ADRC. He noted that steps were also in progress to include other centers of the Diaspora.

Dr. Yuri Souvarian, secretary of NAS Armenian Studies and Social Sciences section, Dr. Pavel Avedisian, NAS correspondent and director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, as well as the president of Haigazian University Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, stressed the importance of Diaspora Studies, and focused on the multidisciplinary aspects of Diaspora Studies.

During the three sessions of the conference extensive discussions were held in an open, academic and friendly atmosphere. The ten papers presented were intended to establish the ground work for a better understanding of the collaboration between these two centers and the addition of other such centers in due time.

During the first session titled “Dominant Themes in Armenian Diaspora Studies”, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian presented a paper on “The imperative of inter-Diaspora and Armenia-Diaspora collaboration”. Dr. Antranik Dakessian’s paper was titled “Which parts of the Armenian Amazon should we study”. The third panelist, Dr. Vahram Hovian touched upon the quantification aspect of the mainstream themes in Armenian Diaspora Studies.

The second session was titled “Interdisciplinary Approaches of Diaspora Studies: Fields of Study and Concerns”. Dr. Hagop Cholakian highlighted the basic issues, concerns and challenges of teaching Armenian language in the Diaspora. Dr. Mihran Kalesdian focused on “Labor migration and the basic features of the formation of new Armenian Diasporas in the Russian Federation”, while Dr. Dork Dalalian discussed the launching of the newspaper Haratch in France and its impact on national identity formation. The session was concluded by Rev. Dr.  René Levonian who examined the features of the different French-Armenian generations of the last one hundred years.

The third session was dedicated to the “Methodology of Diaspora Studies: Methods and Tool Boxes”. Dr. Roupen Ohandjanian discussed the application of the method of social distance in interethnic studies. Lusiné Danadjian presented a paper on “Methodoligical issues of Diaspora Studies”, a joint paper written by Suzanna Parseghian, Sona Nersissian and Danadjian.

Dr. Garabedian concluded the conference stressing the importance of applying the scientific knowledge in the development of national projects. Concluding remarks and suggestions were made by Drs. Kalesdian, Samuel Megerdchian, Dakessian and Rev. Dr. Haidostian.

The conference was closed with the launching of the book, The Lebanese Armenians Today: An Ethnosociological Study, the result of a two-year collaboration between DAS and ADRC.

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